$950,000 for 2016 marine debris cleanup

Despite the tons of marine debris that have been removed from Alaska shorelines in recent years, large quantities are still accumulating. Polystyrene foam, clearly identifiable as debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, continues to be a substantial percentage of the marine debris found in Alaska. Over time, foam litter breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, falling between cracks in nearly impenetrable log piles along Alaska shorelines. Marine animals, including fish, can easily mistake polystyrene for food, therefore making it critical to remove the debris quickly before it becomes impossible to collect. To address this continuing influx of debris, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently received $950,000 from the Government of Japan, via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, for tsunami marine debris collection, removal, and disposal projects for the 2016 field season. Specifically, this funding is intended to support a single large-scale project covering Kayak and Montague Islands, locations which have some of the highest densities of marine debris in the Gulf of Alaska. For more information on marine debris cleanup efforts in Alaska, visit: http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/marine-debris/ <http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/marine-debris/> .

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